A Google search on “Barbie” brings back so many wonderful memories. The “Beauty Secrets Barbie” with the “Extra Long Hair” was a gift from my godparents who lived in Montréal. “Golden Dream Barbie,” a reward for bravery after I had two teeth extracted, became Juice Newton or Debbie Harry and sang along with me in the car whenever the radio was on. Tracy, Whitney, Skipper and P.J. were BFF’s and along with blond and dark-haired variations of Ken, took off with Barbie in the camper van and the Friend Ship. Needless to say, there is a treasure-trove of vintage Barbie awaiting my daughter in my parents’ basement.
Now that my daughter is in her tween years, I am concerned about role models and her exposure to appropriate messages. I wholeheartedly embrace the Barbie I Can Be philosophy:
B a dreamer
I want my daughter to have the opportunity to build on her skills and abilities and self-esteem throughout her girlhood, to give her the building blocks for a lifetime of personal and professional success, regardless of what path in life she takes. The importance of dress-up and imaginative play for any child, boy or girl, cannot be underestimated.
To me, Barbie is far more than a blue-eyed plastic perma-smile wrapped inside a bright pink box. The other evening, while shopping for last-minute Back to School items, I deliberately pushed our cart through the toy section and asked my daughter to tell me which Barbie I Can Be ‘spoke’ to her. She chose “Fashion Designer Barbie” and “Pet Vet Barbie,” ideal choices for someone who has artistic talent and empathy for animals.
I was thrilled to learn there is a now a Barbie® Fashionistas® Collection, as one of the things my daughter and I do together is watch fashion and talent shows on TV. I also think it’s wonderful that the Mattel Web site provides the consumer with the chance to create and purchase a customized Barbie, complete with accessories (including a t-shirt personalized with the child’s name) and two additional outfits. Barbie shows a girl that she can be anything that she wants to be and to be proud of the choice she makes, whether it’s to stay at home with her kids or become a teacher or train to be a professional athlete.